Archive for February, 2010

Budget Q & A

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

A USC journalism student recently sent the Library a number of questions regarding the 2009-10 budget and the impact of its implementation on our users.  You may find the following slightly edited versions of her questions as well as the answers we provided of interest.

 Can people comment on the UCLA Library’s 2009-10 budget plan?  What’s the most effective way?

 The UCLA Library welcomes suggestions, questions, or comments from UCLA undergraduate and graduate students and faculty regarding its 2009-10 budget.  Submissions have been received via an email form on the Library’s budget Web site, emails to me, comments on this blog, and various UCLA-related Facebook pages.

How serious has the impact of the budget cuts been on collections, services, and facilities?

 It is important to remember that the UCLA Library is ranked among the top ten academic research libraries in North America and offers collections totaling more than 8.3 million volumes and more than 230,000 electronic resources as well as extensive services to support teaching and research and a campuswide network of facilities.  Collectively,  the libraries of the University of California have the largest collection in the nation and one of the largest in the world; all of these resources are accessible to UCLA students, faculty, and staff.

 Building on this solid foundation, the Library’s primary commitment is to sustain the excellence of its collections, services, and staff in support of UCLA’s students, faculty, and staff and to ensure that the Library emerges from this crisis strong, relevant, and sustainable. All actions are being taken with those goals in mind.

 Why were Saturday hours eliminated and evening hours reduced at the College Library?  Are there any alternatives when the College Library is closed?

 The only reduction in night hours at the College Library has been on Sunday nights, when it now closes at 6 p.m.  However, the Night Powell after-hours reading room opens at 6 p.m. on Sunday evenings and is open until 7:30 a.m. on Mondays, when the College Library reopens.  Given that, there has been no student feedback indicating that the 6 p.m. closure on Sundays has posed a problem.

 Regarding the closure of the College Library on Saturdays: that was the day of the week with by far the lowest usage levels, so Library administrators chose to instead preserve full operating hours on other, much busier days.

 Note, however, that the UCLA Library is not only a physical entity; it is also a virtual entity that never closes and that is far more heavily used than the physical facilities.  Among virtual offerings available 24/7 are electronic reserves; more than 230,000 electronic resources, including scholarly journals, reference sources, and digital collections; online reference assistance offered through the UCLA Library’s membership in the national 24/7 Academic Reference Cooperative; and user self-services including renewals, interlibrary loan, document delivery, and item paging from the off-site Southern Regional Library Facility.

Has the UCLA Library been working with any campus partners on actions to mitigate the effects of the budget cuts?

 Three highly visible examples of the UCLA Library’s cooperation with campus partners are:

  • working with the chancellor’s office and representatives from USAC to secure funding to restore the hours of Night Powell, the extended-hours reading room
  • working with faculty and students in the music department to adjust the Music Library’s operating hours to fit better with students’ class and rehearsal schedules
  • working with USAC and ASUCLA Academic Publishing to develop a campuswide solution that leverages Library-licensed/owned materials to lower the prices students pay for printed course readers

Countless other examples of cooperation are ongoing every day, though at an operational level and thus far less visible.  These include:

  • encouraging instructors to use electronic rather than print reserves, which makes reserve readings more easily accessible to more students
  • consulting closely with faculty regarding their collections needs for instruction and research during the current academic year
  • assisting faculty with modifying author agreements for academic publishing to retain educational re-use rights, which obviates the need for the Library to buy back scholarship generated at UCLA
  • supporting UC-systemwide efforts to make UC scholarship broadly accessible to the public via UC eScholarship and supporting national open-access efforts including federal legislation

Did UC or UCLA administrators have a say in how the UCLA Library made the necessary cuts?

 Consistent with UCLA’s decentralized structure, units have the flexibility to make adjustments to their own operations and programs in accordance with new funding realities.  Thus, I have made the decisions about how budget cuts are being implemented within the UCLA Library.  The one exception is salary savings achieved via the UC-wide furlough program mandated by the UC Office of the President; those reductions are being taken centrally.

 Both UC President Mark Yudof and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block have reiterated publicly their concerns about the present and future impact of the state’s serious financial condition on funding for the UC system.  They have also expressed cautious optimism about recent actions by the state’s leadership and are pleased by the positive response to their call for UC students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and interested members of the public to participate in advocacy efforts aimed at the governor and state legislators.

 Decisions were announced last fall on where the Library was making cuts.  Were those decisions final, or can changes be made in response to user input or changing circumstances?

 Adjustments in how the UCLA Library is implementing its budget cuts are made on an ongoing basis as necessary, often in response to feedback from UCLA students, faculty, and staff.  That flexible approach will continue.

 What’s going to happen with state funding next year?

 The governor’s 2010-11 budget and his statements in his final State of the State address regarding funding for the UC and CSU systems are encour

Research Library Renovation (2)

Friday, February 5th, 2010

As you may have noticed, work has begun on renovations to the first floor of the Charles E. Young Research Library.  The renovations will create enhanced facilities offering faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences comfortable, innovative spaces in which to study and conduct research as well as places for collaboration, exchange, and contemplation.  The work is expected to last about twelve months.

 I have provided a few details about the design below, but I first want to call your attention to some changes in how and where you will now access some services and collections in this building.

  • Reference collection and services:  The reference collection and services have moved to room A4510, at the west end of the A level, and hours of access have changed slightly. This is a temporary location; the collection and services will move to a new reading room on the first floor once renovations are completed.
  • Periodicals and newspapers: These unbound publications formerly housed on the first floor have been moved to open stacks at the eastern end of the A level.
  • Microformat materials: Many items formerly housed in Microform and Media Service on the second floor have been moved to self-service drawers at the eastern end of the A level.  Some microformat materials are housed in closed stacks and retrieved upon request; ask for assistance at the service desk at the foot of the stairs.
  • Maps:  Many maps are directly accessible in drawers located at the eastern end of the A level.  Some are housed in closed stacks and retrieved upon request; ask for assistance at the reference desk in room A4510, at the west end of the A level.
  • Laptop loans: The laptop loan service desk is now housed inside the reference reading room, room A4510, at the west end of the A level, and hours of service have changed slightly. This is a temporary location; the service desk will move to the first floor once renovations are completed.
  • Circulation desk: The circulation desk will remain on the first floor throughout the renovations.

Users seeking quiet study space should visit the third, fourth, and fifth floors; seating is available in carrels against the walls on all four sides as well as at tables in areas toward the front of the building.  There will be a certain unavoidable level of noise from construction, generally between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, in the study commons and reference reading room on the A level and on the second floor.

When the renovations are complete, the first floor will feature an expansive, glass-enclosed reading room; flexible group study rooms; a central area of computers in both solo and group configurations; an expanded conference center; a two-part exhibit space; a café and lounge areas; and a unified service point, at which users will be able to obtain information, check out materials, and seek assistance without visiting different desks for these formerly separate services.  You can find more details about each element as well as on the project’s design and funding online.

Budget Update for the Library

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

On Tuesday, I attended a briefing on the UCLA Budget Outlook.  While there will be campus-level information released shortly, I wanted to discuss with you the impact on the UCLA Library derived from the information presented in that meeting.

 For 2009-10 (the current year):  There will be no mid-year cuts to the Library’s allocation of state funds, but all reductions will stand.

  • A permanent reduction in state general funds of $1.8 million
  • From salary reductions and furloughs an amount of $1.1 million
  • Ongoing costs of charges for utilities, fringe benefit cost increases, deferred maintenance and employer contributions to UC retirement an amount of $1.1 million

This represented almost eleven percent of our state general funds. We have achieved the savings required to meet these targets by the end of this current budget year.

For 2010-11

UCLA is proceeding according to the following assumptions:

  • The Legislature will not restore the $305 million reduction in state general funds allocated to the University of California
  • There will be no new state general funds allocated to the university
  • It is unlikely that the proposed constitutional amendment can be passed in time to impact the 10-11 budget
  • UC retirement contributions will continue
  • There will be no more Federal stimulus funding
  • There will be no further legislative reductions in funding to the University of California

What this means for the Library

  • There is no plan, at this point, to request further new rounds of permanent budget reductions from the Library—THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS!
  • There will be no increase in the base of funding for the Library in 2010-11
  • There will be no restoration of state general funds previously reduced by UCLA for the Library
  • The costs for fringe benefit increases, utilities, deferred maintenance, and employer retirement contribution will continue at approximately the same level as previous years.  Note that retirement contributions will need to be made for the full year, instead of just three months in the current fiscal year, so the total figure will be higher

So—

  • The Library must permanently implement the 2009-10 funding reductions ($1.8 million)
  • We will continue to bear the previously unfunded costs for fringe benefit increases, utilities, deferred maintenance, and employer contributions to UC retirement
  • We need to plan for allocation of a smaller operating budget in 2010-11 based on these previous reductions in State general funds
  • Academic and administrative restructuring efforts must continue
    • Service hours reduction
    • Assessment of impact of closure of branch libraries
    • Library acquisitions
    • Staffing levels
    • Implementation of new models of service in Special Collections and IT infrastructure
    • Study of costs of inter-library borrowing and lending

The Cabinet will continue to refine our strategic plan based on these assumptions.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic that we can begin to plan within this new, lower base of funding for next year and look forward to your continued support in that effort.  Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.